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Future of Gramps Portable

Submitted by Bart.S on May 5, 2011 - 11:58am

Dear users, does anyone want or need more dependencies bundled by default?
Gramps Portable includes:

  • Python, GTK, pygtk, pygobject, pycairo (since 3.2.5)
  • pyGoocanvas and Goocanvas (required for Graph View addon) [+1.5 MB] (added as from 3.3.0-1)
  • pyexiv (required for Image Metadata Gramplet) [+6.5 MB] (added as from 3.3.0-1)
  • PyICU (better Unicode support) [+7.8 MB] (added as from 3.4.3)

These packages could be added (Gramps Portable 3.4.7 or later):

  • OpenCV and numpy (required for automatic detection of faces) [+ ? MB]
  • ... (other suggestions)

These packages won't be added to an official release in the near future:

  • pyenchant and PyGTKSpell (required for spell-checking):
    enchant interferes with other local or portable apps
  • python-osmgpsmap and osm-gps-map (required for Geography view):
    Offline map cache uses up free disk space fast.

Feedback is very welcome, maybe we could improve the user experience for all Gramps Portable users.

Thanks Smile


The official website recommends for upgrading Gramps:

Before you upgrade, make sure your family tree data is secure. The best way to do this is:

  1. Start Gramps
  2. Open your family tree
  3. Export the family tree to the gramps xml format or the gramps xml package format (which includes your photographs and other media files associated with your family tree data). Export your tree via menu Family Trees->Export, making sure you export all data with no filters applied.
  4. Close this family tree and repeat the above steps for any other family trees you have
  5. Keep the resulting file(s) in a safe place

After properly safeguarding your data, proceed to install/upgrade Gramps. After you upgrade Gramps, you can open your existing family trees and continue working. In case of problems (e.g., after a complete system upgrade), use the backup file(s) created above to recreate your family tree(s).

What should we do with the portable version?

  • disable auto-updating
  • put a message box to the installer: "Hey, are you sure you want to upgrade? Really? Ok, but on your own risk. ;-)"
  • nothing and see what happends
  • something else
John T. Haller's picture

Are these instructions specific to this version upgrade or do they apply to all of them? If all of them, then we should make note on the app page that it could break at any time and encourage backups... and if it's all of them, that's a bit odd. If this specific one, we could backup userdata just for this upgrade.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

to be on the safe side. Smile
I don't know how often it corrupts the database (Windows isn't officially supported). But I plan to upgrade to Python 2.7.1, GTK 2.22.0 as well now.

There is also this warning:

Once you open a family tree in a newer version of Gramps or using a newer operating system, you generally should not try to open that database using an older version again. As always, the gramps xml format is the format to use for the interchange of your data in such cases. There are tools to repair broken databases, but they are for expert users, so avoid needing them by following the steps above before you upgrade your OS or Gramps.

John T. Haller's picture

In that case, we should probably let the user know with a note, etc. If it's a consistently (possibly) unstable/unreliable app, the user should be forewarned. Though, honestly, I haven't heard any reports of issues from our users.

How big are the files? Are the generally in Data? If small and in Data, we could automatically keep a few backups around just in case.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

It wouldn't help to backup Data. Gramps uses BSDDB databases. If you upgrade Gramps and/or its dependencies, it could be possible that Gramps can't open them. Restoring Data wouldn't help (because that Data could only be opened with the previous version).
And that's why the developers recommend an export to xml files before upgrading, just to be safe. The xml files could be imported easily if necessary.

I really appreciate the efforts of Gramps developers in general, and those of Bart S. in making it available for However, I am still at a loss as to how to install the required GraphViz and pygoocanvas, or better yet, some indication as to when they might be available as Gramps Portable for PortableApps.



Welcome at

  1. pyGoocancas is included in Gramps Portable. See above.
  2. Graphviz won't be included (license).

There are several options for you:

  • request Graphviz Portable
  • install a local Graphviz
  • copy Graphviz binaries to GrampsPortable\App\Graphviz
  • disable the Gramps plugins which require Graphviz

it's still less stable with Python 2.7.1 and GTK 2.22.0. I think I'll keep the approved setup (at least for the official release).

About the dependecies. I think that pyGoocanvas and Goocanvas should be included. Graph View is really a must for gramps to be more friendly.
I need those right yesterday )
Is there a way to install those 2 dependencies on an installed portable version 3.3.0 not waiting for the next release???

they are coming in the next version.
You could copy the binaries into the appropriate folders and it'll work yesterday. Blum

Note: Gramps Portable uses either a local installed Graphviz or you could copy Graphviz to GrampsPortable\App\Graphviz if you want it wherever you are. This applies to Ghostscript also (GrampsPortable\App\Ghostscript of course). Smile

sorry, but im not so fast, so please, get in a little more detail
1) where do i get the binaries (i'm on - the binaries said to be coming soon)
2) what are appropriate folders for those binaries?
3) why are you noting about Graphviz and Ghostscript? Are they necessary too? Where do i get the those compiled for the portable version?

Sorry if the questions are dumb, but that is my current level of understanding Smile

It's not easy (to explain). Sad
See for dependencies, what they are for and where to get the Gramps wiki.
Graphviz is the program which creates the graphs on Graph View. So yes, it's necessary too. Ghostscript is needed for generating PDFs, but it's not necessary.

...for your next relaese with hope on smart guys like you

actually, i can understand, what are whose dependencies for
i just cant figure out, where to download appropriate binaries from and where to put them in the PORTABLE GRAMPS folder
i never used python or GTK separately

maybe i'll get it, when i'll compare my current 3.3.0 portable installation folder and the next on with pyGoocanvas and Goocanvas + GraphViz and Ghostscript installed


I am a happy user of Gramps Portable 3.3.1-1 on Win XP SP3.
Thanks for producing this version.

Do you plan to update it to the current 3.4.1?


but at the moment there aren't windows binaries for 3.4.1, so we'll have to wait.

Hi Bart.S,

Happy New year.

Would you be able to create a Gramps 4.0.0-alpha2 test release for us non technical people to play around with, I would like to try out the new Fan Charts etc.

In the comments of alpha1, Agdes mentions "Gtk3/Introspection and libs work under Windows. I do not know about Gtk3 themes under this OS…"

Thank you for considering

I won't touch alpha/beta releases of Gramps, GTK3 or a combination of it.

Let's wait till there is something stable on Windows and then we'll see if we can make it portable.